As we all know, horses are amazing creatures. They’re beautiful, whimsical, strong, wise…I could go on and on. Horses are not only amazing creatures, though. They are teachers.
In my 21 years, I have had a handful of people impact my life greatly, but I believe that horses have taught me some of the most valuable lessons I've learned.
I'll spare you the full list of life lessons a la horses, but here are two essentials:
Hard Work Pays Off
When you first meet a horse, you see a pair of eyes, a mouth, those big ole’ ears, four hooves,... basically an animal that looks just like the other horse one stall down (aside from the superficial things like color, height, etc). Each horse, however, has something much more intellectual and deep behind those eyes - something that can only be revealed after you have listened to the horse and have done the work to earn their trust in you as their guider.
You work to earn their trust. You work to nail that jump course. You work, you work, you work, and you never stop working. If done with humility, tactfulness, sincerity, and direct focus, it will pay off. Just like anything else in life.
It’s important to remember that learning how to ride and connect with a horse is a lifelong learning experience. This isn’t something that can be learned overnight, and if that is the expectation, the pay off will never show.
It is an evolution - something that is understood better and gets stronger with time.
This leads me into the idea of mindfulness. After you’ve accepted that there will always be “on” days and “off” days due to the nature of this sport, you can find the fine line in the middle that opens this perspective of mindfulness.
You accept errors as learning opportunities and move onward with more wisdom than before - because you are mindful. You are able to tune in to your horse, because you’re working with them every step of the way, adjusting and changing the plan in a split second as needed - because you are mindful.
Then, when you’re walking around and go to order your coffee from a barista who seems to have a bad attitude - you’re able to be understanding instead of defensive - because you are mindful. And once you apply a lesson a horse has taught you in a situation outside of the barn...
you have obtained the mindset of a true horseman.